The 27 Best Online Course Platforms for 2023 (+ Pricing & Tips)
The eLearning industry is estimated to be worth $325 million by 2025!
But before you can grab your slice of that pie, you'll need to find the right online course platform to use for your digital education empire.
The only problem?
With so many options to choose from, making the right choice can feel overwhelming.
That's why we've put together a list of the 26 best online course platforms the web has to offer. This detailed, in-depth guide will help you find the platform that's perfect for you.
What is an Online Course Platform?
An online course platform is a set of tools, services, and resources that help educators and entrepreneurs build, manage, and deliver online courses.
Some platforms require more tech-savvy than others. But generally, their goal is to make creating and selling your course easier and more successful.
Depending on the type and specific eLearning platform you choose, they come with a wide range of features, including:
- Content creation (video, audio, pdf, and text) and hosting
- Editing features
- Ability to create quizzes, course content, and certification
- Mobile optimization
- Student-teacher engagement features
- Course marketing features (landing page design, email integration)
- Ecommerce features (shopping cart/payment gateway)
- Social Media Management
Types of Online Course Platforms
The first step to selecting the ideal online learning platform is choosing the type of platform that best suits your needs.
There are five different types of platforms you can choose from:
1) Standalone Platforms
A standalone platform is a piece of course creation software you can use to build, host, and sell online courses and course websites. While they offer some features to help you market your courses, you'll have to integrate other tools to execute more advanced marketing tactics.
Standalone platforms are ideal for course creators with an established audience who can generate traffic for their courses.
2) All-in-One Platforms
All-in-one platforms aim to provide course creators with everything they need to run their digital schools.
With these platforms, you can build courses and course websites, run marketing campaigns (email sequences, behavior triggers, webinars), and collect payments all from one platform.
They're ideal for those who have an established audience but are less experienced with course creation and digital marketing.
3) Online Course Marketplaces
Online course marketplaces are platforms that cater both to course creators and students. You can build and host courses on these platforms for free and your courses will be listed among millions of others. Some marketplaces even help you promote your course. In exchange, the platform takes a share of the revenue generated from course sales.
Marketplaces are perfect for new course creators who lack the money, audience, and/or marketing infrastructure to promote their courses.
4) WordPress LMS Plugins
WordPress LMS (Learning Management System) plugins are online course platforms that are hosted on WordPress. They provide the same course creation and promotion features as most other platforms.
They're ideal for people who have an established website they want to host their course on.
5) Academic & Enterprise Learning Management Systems
Academic and Enterprise LMSs are platforms designed for large-scale course creation and management.
This is also eLearning software that is most often custom-made because every organization has unique requirements for their LMS that off-the-shelf software cannot meet in full. Fortunately, custom LMS development is a flourishing market.
They're ideal for schools that need to create and host online courses for their student body. They're also designed for businesses and institutions that need to create and manage courses for upskilling and certifying employees.
So now that we know the different types, let's look at the 24 best online course platform options (in no particular order):
Best Standalone Platforms
Thinkific is a popular platform that boasts over 50,000+ course creators and $650 million+ earned on their platform.
They provide course creators with tools to build, market, and sell your course and membership site. They also offer robust support features for course creators and students.
While Thinkific courses and websites are fully mobile-responsive, they, unfortunately, don't offer a mobile app.
Still, all of their plans come with a free 30-day trial. And unlike many other platforms, they never charge a transaction fee on your course sales.
(For more info about Thinkific, check out our list of Thinkific alternatives and real-world Thinkific examples.)
- Advanced Customization: Thinkific enables you to completely customize how your course runs using private and hidden courses, drip course content, evergreen and expiring content, and more.
- Zapier Integration: Integrate your Thinkific school with over 1,500 apps using Zapier, including your preferred email service provider.
- Marketing Tools: Thinkific provides comprehensive support for analytics and ad tracking, including Adwords, Facebook Ads, and retargeting campaigns. They also support affiliate marketing programs and enable you to set custom commissions and track affiliate sales.
- Excellent eCommerce Features: With Thinkific, you can get paid immediately, charge in 100+ currencies, offer payment plans and coupons to students, and more.
- Free Trial: 30 days
- Basic: $49/mo.
- Pro: $99/mo.
- Premier: $499/mo.
(For a comprehensive overview of Thinkific pricing, check it out here.)
Who Should Use Thinkific?
Entrepreneurs, edupreneurs, podcasters, small-medium businesses, and anyone who wants to create a full-featured course/membership site without technical hassle.
Teachable is an online course creation platform that caters to creative entrepreneurs and coaches.
With over 100,000 creators using their platform to make over $1 billion with individual courses and coaching programs, they're the largest online learning platform on the market. They also boast notable customers like The NY Times, Shopify, and Pat Flynn.
Teachable enables you to create and manage your courses, payment processing, and affiliate programs all through their easy-to-use dashboard.
(Editor's Note: Don't miss our list of Teachable alternatives.)
- Unlimited Everything: Teachable offers unlimited bandwidth, courses, coaching services, and students on all paid plans.
- Excellent eCommerce Features: Teachable offers excellent payment options (coupons, payment plans, subscriptions, and more), affiliate marketing tools, and accepts payment in 130+ currencies as well as Paypal and mobile pay.
- Tax Filing: Teachable enables you to collect and file tax forms on your earned income through their platform, including filing and remitting EU VAT.
- "Discover" Database: Teachable's course database allows users to discover courses built on their platform, which can help new creators build an audience.
- Basic: $29/mo.
- Pro: $99/mo.
- Business: $249/mo.
(For a more deep-dive into Teachable's pricing plans, check it out here.)
Who Should Use Teachable?
Creative entrepreneurs and coaches looking for an easy-to-use platform with comprehensive features.
LearnWorlds is an online course platform that enables you to create, promote, and sell your courses.
Their user-friendly dashboard enables you to create top-quality courses, marketing materials, and optimized sales pages and payment processing.
One of the best things about LearnWorlds is how their platform helps you engage users. They offer interactive ebooks, an integrated social network, and video tools that automatically generate and synchronize video transcripts.
- Engaging Learning Features: Engage students with note-taking features, interactive ebooks, video conferencing, certificates, SCORM, and more.
- Automatic, Synchronized Transcripts: LearnWorlds can automatically extract transcripts from videos and sync them with video play to create more accessible video learning.
- Zapier Integrations: Integrate your courses and website with thousands of marketing and affiliate tools through Zapier.
- Integrated Social Network: LearnWorlds offers an integrated social network you can use to help students connect, discuss course material, learn, and network.
- Starter: $29/mo.
- Pro Trainer: $99/mo.
- Learning Center: $299/mo.
Who Should Use LearnWorlds?
Entrepreneurs and small-medium businesses. Their customers have created courses in the categories of fitness, beauty, music, sports, and lifestyle.
Xperiencify is an online course platform that excels in gamification. It competes with the best in the industry with its website/course creation features, third-party integration, marketing, and selling features.
But where they really stand out is their unique value proposition.
Xperiencify is a platform created by course creators for course creators. They understand that students who complete a course are much more likely to become devoted fans and repeat buyers.
And since they know a huge issue with most online learning platforms is keeping students locked in and motivated, Xperiencify has incorporated psychological tools into their platform that are proven to increase user engagement and course completion by up to 3,000%.
- "Experiencification Features": Xperiencify's platform incorporates 7 psychological triggers that are proven to increase student engagement and retention by 10-30x. Triggers include variable rewards, constant wins, goals, urgency, social proof, curiosity, and recognition.
- Superior Content Control: Xperiencify gives course creators the greatest level of control over their content, student pacing, and how students engage with and experience their content.
- Zapier Integrations: Connect your preferred CMS, email provider, payment processor, and more through Zapier.
- Customizable Membership Pages: Fully customize membership site pages and translate site content to other supported languages with the click of a button.
- All plans have unlimited unpublished courses. Different plans have a different number of courses you can publish.
- Starter Plan: $49/month. Features: Membership site, 3 published courses.
- Growth Plan: $99/month. Features: Cart abandonment, custom domain, 10 published courses.
- Pro Plan: $149/month. Features: Live group coaching, affiliate management, 20 published courses.
- Platinum Plan: $499/month. Features: Unlimited custom fields, dedicated customer success manager, 50 published courses.
Who Should Use Xperiencify?
Any course creator who wants to increase course completion and customer LTV. If you want to incorporate gamification into learning, look no further.
Ruzuku is an online course platform that caters to brands with unique or niche courses. Their customers, for example, include teachers like Amy Medling (whose course is designed for women living with PCOS), Fabiana Pestorini (a dance instructor), and Jeffrey Davis (who teaches artists how to flourish in challenging times).
They're more affordable than other options, easy to use, and offer excellent design features that enable you to create beautiful, engaging courses and host on a custom domain.
They also offer great features for engaging and connecting students so you can build and empower a strong digital tribe.
- Excellent eCommerce Features: Accept payments through Stripe, Paypal, or your own payment system and provide flexible payment options to students.
- Great Student Engagement Features: Create discussion questions/prompts for specific activities or content, include a course-wide Q&A forum, and host interactive video broadcasts with slides, group chat, and automatic recording.
- Document Hosting and Sharing: Host just about any file for digital downloads, including PDFs, Word, PPT, video, and more. Students can also post files in the same formats.
- Bootstrapper: $99/mo.
- Up-and-Comer: $149/mo.
- University: $199/mo.
Who Should Use Ruzuku?
Entrepreneurs who want simple, easy-to-navigate courses for themselves and their students.
WizIQ is an online course platform that's uniquely designed for educational facilities, corporate trainers, and test prep institutions.
They offer a simple, flexible online course builder that works with content in just about any format.
You can host virtual classrooms with HD video conferencing, an online whiteboard, and real-time messaging.
Unlike many other platforms, WizIQ offers a mobile app so students can access your course content on their Android and iOS devices.
- Virtual Classroom: WizIQ enables you to host a virtual classroom with HD video conferencing, an online whiteboard, and real-time messaging with unlimited participants.
- Mobile Learning: Students can access your course content on Android and iOS mobile devices.
- Simple, Flexible Course Builder: Easy-to-use course builder that allows you to upload content in any format.
- Great Course Creation Options: Create instructor-led and self-paced courses with multimedia tests/assessments in 9 different formats.
No pricing transparency. Contact WizIQ for more info.
Who Should Use WizIQ?
While WizIQ is a great platform for individual teachers, it's ideal for colleges and universities, corporate trainers, and test prep institutions.
Best All-In-One Platforms
Kajabi is an online course platform that enables you to build, market, and sell your online course all in one place.
Their platform offers easy-to-use, one-click templates, but also lets you customize everything from pricing to delivery to packaging.
Every aspect of your course and business can be created and managed internally, including email marketing, pipeline building, marketing automation, customer relationship management, and more.
But if you prefer using tools you're more familiar with to manage these aspects, they also offer over 3000 integrations through Zapier.
(Editor's Note: For our comprehensive Kajabi review, check it out here. And for our list of alternatives to Kajabi, look no further.)
- Internal Business Management: Track your student's progress and behavior, create automated triggers, build pipelines, send emails, and manage customer relationships all through Kajabi.
- Zapier Integrations: Use your preferred business and marketing management tools through Zapier integrations.
- Mobile App: Enable students to access your content on their preferred mobile device with the Kajabi iOS and Android apps.
- Comprehensive Lead/Customer Tracking: Track your leads, tag people based on behavior, make personal notes, and create automation using Kajabi's comprehensive tracking and automation tools.
- Basic: $149/mo.
- Growth: $199/mo.
- Pro: $399/mo.
(For a comprehensive overview of Kajabi pricing, check it out here.)
Who Should Use Kajabi?
Kajabi is perfect for course creators who want to build and manage every aspect of their business in one place and create custom marketing/course features.
Kartra is a comprehensive online course platform that enables you to create marketing funnels, manage email campaigns, manage leads, and manage your eCommerce storefront all in one place.
But, like Kajabi, they enable you to work with your preferred business and marketing tools through Zapier Integrations.
They offer excellent engagement features that make it easy to build and manage an engaged community around your course.
Their customer support is highly-rated. Students and creators can create support tickets and live chat with Katra's help desk at any time.
And Kartra offers tools to help you scale your business as your community and course needs grow.
- Internal Marketing and Sales Management: Collect payments through credit card and Paypal. Create sales pages with their simple drag-and-drop page builder. Create multiple funnels and campaigns for different customer segments. And recruit and manage affiliates with flexible commission plans and payment milestones.
- Kartra Marketplace: Kartra's marketplace allows users to sell their marketing funnels and expertise and/or discover sales resources created by other users.
- Excellent Help Desk: Creators and students have easy access to customer support through support tickets and live chat to help resolve technical issues.
- Zapier Integrations: Connect your preferred business in marketing tools through Zapier Integrations.
- Starter: $99/mo
- Silver: $199/mo.
- Gold: $299/mo.
- Platinum: $499/mo.
Who Should Use Kartra?
Kartra is great for entrepreneurs who want to build and manage multiple courses all in one place.
Podia is an online course platform that combines ease of use with a broad set of features.
Like other all-in-one platforms, they provide you with all the tools you need to create, market, and sell your course in one place. But they also allow you to connect Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels, and other business and marketing tools through Zapier Integrations.
If you already have a course and website on another platform, Podia will migrate all of your content to their platform for free.
And they enable course creators to create digital products and multimedia course content that includes video, PDFs, images, text, and more.
- Free Migrations: Podia will migrate your existing course and website content onto their platform for free.
- Live Customer Support: You and your students can access live customer support 24/7.
- Customizable Layout and Branding: You can completely brand your course website and course content, and create a fully customized layout and content delivery system.
- Customizable Sales Funnel: Create fully customizable marketing content and sales funnels that enable you to capture, track, and convert leads.
- Mover: $39/mo.
- Shaker: $79/mo.
Who Should Use Podia?
Podia is great for all entrepreneurs looking for an all-in-one online course platform, especially for those looking to easily migrate their existing content to a new platform.
Systeme.io is an all-in-one online course platform that stands out because of its simplicity and affordability.
You can easily create sales content, email marketing campaigns, evergreen webinars, and blog content on Systeme.io's easy-to-use platform.
They also offer dropshipping features that enable you to sell physical products along with your courses.
And their flexible eCommerce tools allow you to collect payments via credit cards, Stripe, and Paypal, create custom sales funnels, and run affiliate programs.
- Dropshipping Features: Systeme.io includes dropshipping features that enable you to sell physical products along with your courses.
- Email Marketing: Create and send newsletters, email campaigns, and autoresponders from Systeme.io's platform. All plans come with unlimited sending.
- Zapier Integrations: Connect your preferred business and marketing tools through Zapier Integrations.
- Build Sales Funnels: Build sales funnels and landing pages in minutes with their easy-to-use templates and page builder.
- Startup: $27/mo.
- Webinar: $47/mo.
- Enterprise: $97/mo.
Who Should Use Systeme.io?
Systeme.io is perfect for entrepreneurs who are new to course creation and want a simple but effective online platform.
Best Online Course Marketplaces
Udemy is the world's largest online course marketplace with over 70K instructors, 155K courses, and 480 million course enrollments.
Individuals and businesses can create Udemy courses on any topic for free. Instructors earn 97% of sales they make themselves (i.e., when students purchase using an instructor's coupon code) and 50% of organic sales (when students discover the course through Udemy's marketplace. Payments are delivered on a monthly basis.
Udemy offers monitoring tools to keep track of student progress, video recording tools to create lessons within their systems, and integrations that help you create, market, and deliver courses.
And with Udemy's mobile learning app, students can take your courses on their preferred mobile device.
- Marketplace Insights: Access robust reporting on student demand, search volume, and revenue for particular topics to help you decide what courses to create.
- Monitoring Tools: Keep track of student progress and behaviors.
- Mobile Learning App: Students can access your course on their preferred mobile devices through Udemy's app.
- Monthly Payments: Get paid your share of course sales monthly through Paypal or Payoneer.
- Course Creation/Hosting: Free
Who Should Use Udemy?
Udemy is great for new course creators who don't have an existing audience or email list.
Skillshare is a unique online course marketplace based on a membership model.
Students pay a monthly fee to access any course on Skillshare's platform. Instructors earn revenue based on a royalty system.
Each month, 30% of Skillshare's premium membership revenue goes into a pool to be paid out to teachers. Teachers earn revenue based on their share of the minutes watched by premium students that month. If a teacher's digital class receives 10% of the minutes watched by premium students, they earn 10% of the royalty pool.
Teachers can also earn $10 for every Skillshare member they refer.
Skillshare also offers a mobile app so students can access courses on their preferred mobile device.
- Mobile App: Students can access your course anytime on their preferred mobile device.
- Unlimited Courses: Create and host an unlimited number of courses on their website. The more courses you have, the higher your royalty-earning potential.
- Student Engagement Tools: Access a variety of tools to help you engage students, like Announcements and Discussions.
- Social Media Links: Link to your social media profiles for enhanced social media marketing capabilities.
- Course Creation/Hosting:
Who Should Use Skillshare?
Skillshare is great for new course creators who don't have an existing audience to leverage and would like to earn on a performance-based model.
OpenSesame is an online course marketplace that caters to businesses and corporations who want to train their workforce.
Creating and hosting courses on their platform is free. Course creators set their own course prices and earn 60% of revenues generated from sales. Domestic sellers are paid monthly via check, and international sellers paid through Paypal.
OpenSesame promotes courses in a variety of ways:
- Their staff works directly with customers to assess learning needs and recommend courses.
- They offer SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC in their marketplace search engine.
- They promote courses on their blog and social media channels.
- They leverage partnerships with LMS vendors and eLearning conferences.
They also offer course creators the opportunity to guest blog on their site to promote their courses.
- Course Licensing: Other people can buy licensing to your course and stream it from OpenSesame servers into their LMS.
- SCORM Compliance: OpenSesame ensures your courses are SCORM compliant so they can be uploaded to any LMS.
- Promotional Features: OpenSesame will work to promote your course for you as well as provide you with various methods of promoting your course (like SEO and PPC).
- Course Creation/Hosting: Free
Who Should Use OpenSesame?
OpenSesame caters to people who want to create simple, video-based courses aimed at businesses and corporations looking to deliver training to their organizations.
14. LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is an online course marketplace that's different from the others on this list.
Those who wish to become instructors must first fill out an application form and create a sample video. If LinkedIn thinks you're a good fit, they'll reach out.
LinkedIn aims to ensure all instructors are subject matter experts, so they're very selective about who they allow teaching on their platform.
Students can purchase courses individually or purchase monthly memberships for $29.99/mo. (billed monthly) or $19.99 (billed annually).
While it's difficult to find information on how instructors get paid, we can assume they earn revenue-share from members and a percentage of individual course purchases.
- Mobile App: Students can access training materials on their preferred mobile device.
- LinkedIn Learning Reps: LinkedIn learning reps help guide course creators and can create tailored content for your course.
- Student Membership: $29.99/mo. (billed monthly) $19.99/mo. (billed annually)
- Course Creation and Hosting: Free (if you're selected)
Who Should Use LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn Learning is ideal for subject matter experts who want to increase their authority using LinkedIn's social media platform.
15. Shaw Academy
Shaw Academy is an online course marketplace that aims to serve career professionals with globally recognized certifications.
Shaw Academy works with several accrediting bodies - like the CPD (Continued Professional Development), IAO (International Accreditation Organization), and ICSOC (International Council of Specialized Online Certifications) - to ensure all their courses are externally validated and recognized by global professional bodies. Getting accreditation for your course will give it an extra boost of authority and increase its value to students.
While it's difficult to find information on how instructors get paid, we can assume they earn a share of the monthly membership revenue from people who take their courses.
Note: Many people who signed up for Shaw Academy's 4-week free trial have complained that they were still charged after canceling their trial and that Shaw Academy refused to refund their money. There are lots of negative online reviews that speak to this effect, so keep this note in mind if you're considering Shaw's free trial.
While this doesn't affect course creators directly, if a learner sees the negative reviews and avoids Shaw Academy, it can hurt their ability to make money on the platform.
- Mobile App: Students can access your course on their preferred mobile device using the Shaw Academy mobile app.
- Lower Course Volume: Shaw Academy has fewer courses on its platform than other competitors. Your course will have a better chance of standing out.
- Student Membership: $69.99/mo.
- Course Creation and Hosting: Free
Who Should Use Shaw Academy?
Shaw Academy is great for established professionals who want to turn their knowledge and experience into an alternative, course-based income stream.
Coursera is an online course marketplace that's designed to help professionals and organizations to build their skills and earn course completion certificates and degrees.
Coursera courses are featured at educational and business institutions like Duke, Stanford, Google, and IBM.
Unfortunately for course creators, Coursera is invite-only for instructors. Instructors earn 15% of revenue generated from individual purchases or when Coursera partners with educational and business institutions.
Coursera is not the best marketplace for those who are new in their fields or new to course creation. It's geared toward established, credentialed professionals and they usually select instructors who work at the institutions they partner with.
- Mobile App: Students can access Coursera courses on their preferred mobile device with the Coursera app.
- Institutional Partnerships: If you're selected to teach on Coursera, your courses may be featured at well-regarded educational and business institutions, like Stanford and Google.
- Course Creation: Free to create, but invite-only.
Who Should Use Coursera?
Coursera is ideal for established, well-regarded professionals in their field who want to build their authority by creating courses that are shared with prestigious institutions.
Obby is an online course marketplace based in the UK that wants you to rethink the way you learn. Their mission is to make sure anyone who wants to learn has access.
Obby's courses are available online via pre-recorded classes and learning kits, live online learning via a virtual classroom or live in person. Obby courses are geared towards creatives with classes in arts and crafts, music, photography, cooking, woodworking, etc.
Course creators can set up their own branded website on Obby where you can host your course, enroll students, and get paid directly via Stripe. Obby users also have access to the Obby marketplace, which brings thousands of students together with teachers.
- Mobile App: Obby is optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
- Online and in-person learning: Obby allows you to teach online (live or pre-recorded), in-person, or both.
- Integrations: Obby integrates seamlessly with Zoom, YouTube and Vimeo
- Free: $0
- *Lite: $13/mo.
- *Standard: $20/mo.
- *Growth: $40/mo.
- Enterprise: Contact Obby
*Prices are approximate conversions from British Pounds to US dollars and include VAT charges.
Who Should Use Obby?
Obby is great for new and experienced course creators who are interested in teaching creative courses online as well as in-person.
Terrain is an online course platform geared especially towards skill acquisition for entrepreneurs. The platform boasts high-quality vetted courses by real entrepreneurs (not influencers!) for those looking for practical content.
Terrain caters to all the roles played by business owners and covers various topics like marketing, design, and strategy. The course studio is extremely easy to navigate and works seamlessly with audio, video, and text formats.
Users have access to rich, exportable note-taking facilities and a customizable learning plan. The platform's community learning aspect encourages reviews, peer-to-peer learning, and roundtable discussions.
- Vetted Courses: Terrain curates and vets all its courses using a rigorous three-part rubric. Being on Terrain acts as proof of quality and lends credibility to each course and creator.
- Free For Course Creators: In addition to building a solid revenue stream through Terrain, as a course creator, uploading your course is 100% free.
- eCommerce Style Marketing: Terrain's marketplace advertises your course for free using an internal marketing budget.
- Gamification Features: Terrain hosts several gamification features like shareable badges, an exciting point system, and a customized learning path that encourages course completion.
- Free to upload your course; Terrain takes 25% of course earnings.
Who Should Use Terrain?
Entrepreneurs at any stage of their journey looking for fluff-free, actionable content to catapult skill acquisition. Course-creators who want to amplify completion rates, infuse elements of gamification into their content, and wear credibility.
Best WordPress LMS Plugins & Themes
LearnDash is a popular and affordable WordPress LMS plugin used by Fortune 500 companies and top universities.
Their customers include big names like the University of Florida, Tony Robbins, and Digital Marketer.
Their platform allows you to use over 300 payment gateways, including Paypal, Stripe, 2Checkout, and more.
They allow course creators to drip-feed content to students at the exact time they want students to receive it.
Their engagement triggers allow you to engage with users based on actions they take or don't take.
And you can encourage learners to complete course modules by rewarding them with certificates, points, and badges.
- Lesson-Timers: Ensure students spend a certain amount of time on a lesson or limit the time they can spend using lesson-timers.
- Use Any Payment Gateway: Integrate with over 300 payment gateways through WooCommerce.
- Flexible Pricing Models: Sell courses with a variety of pricing models, including one-time sales, subscriptions, memberships, and more.
- Superior Quizzing Capabilities: Their powerful quizzing engine enables you to engage students with 8 different types of questions, different supported media, automated sequences, and more.
- Basic Plan: $159/yr.
- Plus: $189/yr.
- Pro: $329/yr.
Who Should Use LearnDash?
LearnDash is ideal for large businesses and entrepreneurs who want to host courses on their established websites.
AccessAlly is a popular WordPress plugin that provides training to over 2.5 million learners.
Their platform includes features that help you sell your courses more, including affiliate program tracking, flexible payment options, abandoned cart follow-ups, conversion-focused order forms, and more.
They offer tools that enhance online teaching capabilities and enable you to create an intuitive learning experience, including quizzes, homework submissions, project tracking, video view tracking and bookmarking, and more.
And they help you keep students engaged with gamification features, automated follow-ups, engagement and sales metrics, and more.
- Flexible Payment Options: Sell your course with flexible payment options, including free/paid trials, recurring payments, installments, one-time payments, preselling, and more.
- Affiliate Functionality: Create and manage affiliate programs with AccessAlly. Create affiliate tiers, set cookie expiration, create payout windows, and more.
- Mobile-Responsive Design: All AccessAlly courses and order forms are optimized for mobile devices.
- Customer Self-Management: Customers can easily cancel, upgrade, and downgrade themselves with customer self-management.
- Essentials: $99/mo.
- Pro: $129/mo.
- In-House Training: $2,500/yr.
Who Should Use AccessAlly?
AccessAlly is ideal for small businesses, solopreneurs, online educators, and marketers who want to host courses on their own website.
LifterLMS is a more expensive and robust alternative to LearnDash. They cater to solopreneurs who want to sell courses and coaching programs as well as WordPress developers and IT pros who create websites and training portals for clients.
They boast 4 million students and 6 million courses/lessons created on their platform.
Their platform integrates with WooCommerce so you can sell courses through just about any payment gateway.
They also integrate with the most popular business and marketing tools through Zapier integrations.
They offer comprehensive analytics and reporting features so you can track student behavior and progress and engage students with automated notifications and behavior triggers.
Their flexible payment options give you complete control over how students enroll in your programs and how they're charged.
Basically, they offer every feature that's offered in other online course platforms and then some.
- Customized Feature Selection: LifterLMS gives you the option of buying specific add-ons if you don't want to pay for their full suite.
- Instructional Design: They offer software that guides you in how to organize and design the most engaging online courses.
- Flexible Payment Options: Using their integrations, you can utilize any payment gateway and customize any payment plans you want.
- Engagement Features: LifterLMS offers gamification features, social learning, and other tools to help you keep students engaged and facilitate course completion.
- Individual Add-Ons: $99+ each/per year
- Universe Bundle: $299/yr.
- Infinity Bundle: $999/yr.
Who Should Use LifterLMS?
LifterLMS is designed for solopreneurs who want to host courses on their own website and WordPress developers who create courses and training portals for clients.
22. Zippy Courses
Zippy Courses is an online course platform built by experienced course creators. They're an all-in-one course creation solution that's optimized to help you create and sell your courses.
You can quickly build a Zippy course with the tool's drag-and-drop course builder, and you can customize courses to look how you want them to look and match your brand.
With Zippy "Launch Windows", you can decide when enrollment for your course opens and closes. Utilizing enrollment windows has been shown to effectively increase course sales.
All Zippy membership plans allow you to create as many courses, landing pages, and sales pages as you want and enroll an unlimited number of students.
Zippy doesn't offer as many integrations as other course platform options. But they do integrate with the most popular email providers, like Mailchimp, AWeber, and Drip. They also integrate with Stripe, Paypal, and Infusionsoft for payment processing.
- "Launch Windows": You can make your course evergreen, or you can decide when course enrollment opens and closes.
- Drip Course Content: Easily drip your course content to students with the click of a button.
- Unlimited Courses and More: All Zippy plans allow you to create unlimited courses, landing pages, and sales pages.
- Automated Emails: Create automated email sequences to keep students engaged and motivated.
- Standard: $99/mo.
- Professional: $199/mo.
Who Should Use Zippy Courses?
Zippy Courses is a great option for solopreneurs and course creators who want a simple and effective course creation platform.
Best Academic & Enterprise Learning Management Systems
23. iSpring Learn
iSpring Learn is a cloud-based LMS designed to create, host, and deliver eLearning content.
An advantage of iSpring Learn is an integrated, comprehensive authoring toolkit — iSpring Suite. It allows you to create interactive courses with video tutorials, role-play simulations, and quizzes.
Moreover, iSpring Learn includes a tool for building page-like courses with tests for those who are short on time and need to create a course right away.
Thanks to its flexibility, iSpring Learn suits any type of organization and reflects its structure completely. Administrators can set different user roles and access permissions, combine learners into groups and departments, and automate many repetitive training management tasks.
- Integrated authoring tool. iSpring Suite complements the LMS and makes it self-sufficient because you don't need to look for a separate authoring tool. Create and deliver courses to learners in a single place.
- Mobile learning. iSpring offers free mobile apps for Android and iOS so learners can study when and where they want to. It also allows users to save courses and take them offline.
- Comprehensive reports. The LMS provides more than 20 types of in-depth reports for both groups and individuals.
- 24/7 customer support. The support team helps you via phone, chat, or e-mail around the clock.
- $3.66/user per month for 100 learners.
- $3.00/user per month for 300 learners.
- $2.82/user per month for 500 learners.
Who should use iSpring Learn?
Companies looking for a comprehensive and feature-rich solution that allows you to create courses, provide mobile learning and manage the entire training process.
TalentLMS is an online course platform that provides an all-in-one solution for businesses looking to build training content, onboard employees, and empower their teams.
They're trusted by over 70,000 businesses worldwide and promise to be "easy to use, easy to learn, easy to like." They deliver on that promise with a host of features that enable you to easily create effective courses that your students will enjoy.
With their drag-and-drop builder, you can easily build courses that include videos, presentations, and docs in a wide variety of formats. You can also host live training sessions and incorporate customized quizzes and certificates.
Their courses include gamification features that you can use to keep students engaged and make learning fun.
Students can access course materials on their preferred mobile device using the TalentLMS app. And you can test-drive their platform before buying using their free plan.
- Automate Tasks: TalentLMS enables you to automate most administrative tasks, including email delivery, course delivery, expiration dates, and deactivating users.
- Detailed Reporting: TalentLMS includes an incredibly detailed reporting dashboard that can be customized to any business's specific needs.
- Zapier Integrations: Integrate your course with over 3000 other business and marketing apps.
- Gamification Features: Include badges, points, levels, leaderboards, and rewards to make your course exciting and engaging to students.
- Free Plan: $0/mo.
- Starter: $59/mo.
- Basic Plan: $129/mo.
- Plus: $249/mo.
- Premium Courses: $429/mo.
Who Should Use TalentLMS?
TalentLMS is an ideal solution for businesses that want to create courses to onboard and train their teams.
AbsorbLMS is an award-winning enterprise LMS that's been in the eLearning industry for over 17 years. That experience is evident in their platform, which utilizes forward-thinking technology to engage learners, fuel content retention, and elevates training programs.
Absorb's administrative dashboard can be completely customized to fit any organization's specific needs. It enables you to track course enrollment data by department, student logins and progress, competencies earned, performance reports, and more.
One of the best things about their platform is how it incorporates AI and leverages algorithms to learn more about your students and course needs and deliver better service. Their exclusive Smart Ranking feature delivers search results in an order predicted to be most useful, and learns more with every submitted search query.
Their platform seamlessly integrates with leading business and tech solutions. And AbsorbLMS customers can even build custom integrations into the platform.
- Custom Integrations: In addition to providing turnkey integrations with leading tech solutions, Absorb enables customers to build their own custom integrations.
- Mobile App: Students can access course materials on their preferred mobile device.
- Artificial Intelligence: Absorb utilizes artificial intelligence to study your student and course needs, continually improve, and deliver better service.
- Reporting and Analytics: Absorb enables customers to customize their administrative and reporting dashboards to deliver relevant information to their organization's needs.
- Public pricing isn't available.
Who Should Use AbsorbLMS?
AbsorbLMS is ideal for large enterprise businesses with advanced employee training and certification needs.
26. Academy of Mine
Academy of Mine is an LMS that's tailored to help businesses and institutions with professional development, continuing education, certifications, and B2B training. Their clients include Harper Collins, USC, and Allied Behavioral Health.
AOM developers work with their customers to build course websites (if needed) and create a fully customized LMS that's tailored to their specific organizational and learning needs.
They provide award-winning support to help customers navigate any problems and design excellent learning programs.
And their platform includes all of the top features of most leading LMS', including customizable reporting and analytics, course delivery control (drip content, lock content, etc.), live virtual training, integrations with leading tech solutions, payment gateways, and more.
- Fully Customized LMS: AOM developers work with you to create a fully customized LMS that meets your organization's specific needs.
- Mobile App: Students can access course materials on their preferred mobile device using the AOM app.
- Award-Winning Support: Managing multiple courses and training systems for an enterprise organization can get tricky. AOM's award-winning support team is there to help you navigate any issues and deliver optimized learning programs.
- Secure, Dedicated Server Hosting: Rest easy knowing that your content is secure and always accessible thanks to dedicated server hosting.
- Starts at $9,997/yr.
Who Should Use Academy of Mine?
Academy of Mine is ideal for large business and educational institutions that need to provide professional development, continuing ed, and certifications.
Moodle is an open-source LMS designed to provide educators and administrators with a robust and integrated system to create personalized learning environments. They're used by large and small organizations worldwide, including Shell, Microsoft, State University of New York, and many public school systems.
Their platform utilizes a simple drag-and-drop course builder to make designing your learning program easy. They also provide well-documented resources and community learning (forums, wikis, and blogs) to help you build excellent courses and navigate any problems.
Moodle can be scaled to suit the needs of small online classes and large organizations. And students can access course materials on their preferred mobile device using the Moodle app.
- Mobile App: Students can access courses on their preferred mobile device using the Moodle app.
- Robust Community: With over 213 million users, Moodle has a large community that's active online. You can benefit from their extensive knowledge base and/or work with Moodle partners who can help you build your online school.
- Adaptability: Moodle features can be enabled, disabled, and adapted to support the needs of organizations large and small. You can create easy, simple courses or complex learning experiences.
- Price: While Moodle is free, they also offer plans that beat out any other enterprise LMS in affordability.
- Free Plan: $0
- Starter: $116/yr.
- Mini: $213/yr.
- Small: $388/yr.
- Medium: $873/yr.
- Large: $1,552/yr.
Who Should Use Moodle?
Moodle is ideal for people and organizations of any size who want a free/cost-effective online course platform that can be completely adapted to their specific needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which of these online course platforms is the best? How do I select the right one?
If you already have a course (or a great course idea) and want to find the best online course platform for your needs, start by choosing the right platform.
If you don't yet have an audience to sell to, then you may want to choose an online course marketplace. You can create free courses and promote them to an audience of people who are looking to buy courses and learn skills.
You should select a WordPress LMS plugin if you have an existing website and want to create and host a course on it.
If you have an audience, but don't yet have a website (or don't want to create a separate one for your course), then you should choose a standalone or all-in-one platform.
Or, if you're an enterprise business looking to create courses to upskill your employees, you should choose an academic and enterprise LMS.
Once you've determined which type of platform is best for your circumstances, you should select a platform that:
- Has the right set of course-building, marketing, and selling features to suit your needs.
- Is at the right price point to suit your budget.
How can I create an online course for free?
If you're looking to create an online course for free, you have two options:
- Online Course Marketplaces: You can create your course in an online course marketplace like Udemy or Skillshare. These platforms don't charge course creators for creating or hosting.
- Free Trials: Many online course platforms offer free trials so you can test-drive their online course software.
How do you price an online course?
When determining how much to charge for your online course, you should take the following factors into consideration:
1) Competitive Pricing
You'll compete against other similar courses, particularly if you host your course in an online course marketplace. Research your competition to see what they're charging. Then determine a price range that keeps you competitive without devaluing your course.
2) How Valuable Is Your Course
How much value will customers get from your course? Will they learn skills that will help them earn money? Do you offer support and other robust features? Is the skill or subject you're teaching difficult to develop? The more value your course provides, the more you should charge students.
3) Beta Testing
Try testing your course out on a sample audience. Offer it as a free course in exchange for answering some questions about it. Once they've completed the course, ask them questions to determine how valuable they think the course was and how much they'd be willing to pay for it.
4) Price Testing
Try selling your course at different price points to see how well it performs. You can always charge a high price, then offer discounts and coupons later.
Start Your Digital Education Empire Today!
Now you have everything you need to know to pick the perfect online course platform for your digital education business.
Start by selecting the type of platform that best fits your situation and needs.
Then browse the top platforms in that category that we listed in this article. Try to find one that has the features you need at a price range you can afford.
Then sign-up for a free trial (if available), build your course, and start living your dreams!
Germano Silveira is a Smart Blogger Certified Content Marketer who helps B2B SaaS companies create engaging content that ranks in Google and converts leads. When he's not creating content, he's either reading fiction, writing fiction, or annoying his girlfriend and puppy. Connect with him on LinkedIn, or check out more of his work on his Freelance Writer Profile.